With a personal viewpoint, writing about the arts stops sounding like Newspeak. Here is the best gift I can give an artist—a flash of my impressions of the work as open as I can divine them, uncluttered by social and historical baggage, and free of plot-spoilers.


Photographs were taken of or from Point Richmond, California and Champaign, Illinois.


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RULES OF CRIME by L. J. Sellers

I have always liked the way L. J. Sellers unwraps a character to give the reader a deeply personal view. Not surprisingly, it’s a difficult feat to sustain with a series character over many books. In RULES OF CRIME, the seventh Wade Jackson story, we get reminders of why we care for Detective Jackson. But—most excellently—L. J. develops an intimate understanding for some new characters alongside reacquainting us with familiars from earlier stories. Several times during the story, I paused to recognize that I really enjoy her writing style.

This is not easy to do: to pause in the middle of an L. J. Sellers story. And the ending blew me right out of the water.

MEMORY OF A MURDER by Earl Staggs

MEMORY OF A MURDER by Earl Staggs is a tale told by a gentleman, a fine upstanding gentleman, one you’d like to have for a next-door neighbour. Adam Kingston, the protagonist, is a mere 44 years of age but he feels like he comes from an older time where grace prevailed and everyday cussing was a gentle banter between friends.

Curiously Adam is now an itinerant psychic consultant, formerly FBI. Not to worry, woo-woo plays a low key element in the story. Although Adam works alongside law enforcement officers, he occasionally has a flagrant disregard for their rules. Probably a benefit from being retired.

SLEEPING DOG by Dick Lochte

I think dogfighting is so barbaric that I nearly quit reading SLEEPING DOG by Dick Lochte. But, the story was so good it kept me going; instead, the volume of my daily reading reduced drastically.

There’s a very old-fashioned feel to the story—I kept expecting Humphrey Bogart to appear. The good guys are repeatedly attacked and beaten up, for what seems like slight reason. And there are plenty of horrible deaths.

Not my kind of story, you would say.

RED TIDE by Peg Brantley

RED TIDE by Peg Brantley started out as a pretty good book, then, without my quite understanding how, it turned into an incredible book … well no, not incredible—unexpected … much more than I expected. Rich characters, a great plot, RED TIDE kept me up well into the night.

RETIREMENT HOMES ARE MURDER by Mike Befeler

I’m not looking forward to our inescapable sentence of frailty; it’s hard enough hanging around aged relatives, why would I want to read about getting old? You’d think that reading a book about a retired old fart would be pretty darn boring. You’d think that garnering the occasional smirk would be the best you could get.

You’d be wrong on both counts.

DRIFTNET by Lin Anderson

Sometimes we need to read books which push us out of our comfort zones—it’s part of what helps us learn and know we are alive. DRIFTNET was such a book for me. The fatalities in DRIFTNET are victims of paedophilia and Lin Anderson is one of those British authors with the talent to make one feel the awful perpetrators of such crimes are almost perfectly normal … just like everyone else, nearly.

2013 story: Who's Murdering Crime Fiction?

In May 2013, our membership on the Crime Fiction group on LinkedIn had grown to over 2,200 members. So in celebration of our augmented readership, we began writing a progressive crime story .

We welcomed everyone to join us as a reader or to collaborate as a writer. Sadly, the project stalled, but read on to find out what we did.

Continue.

PERFECT HATRED by Leighton Gage

PERFECT HATRED by Leighton Gage is a fascinating story with deep insights into modern multicultural tensions of immigrant populations and the age-old fodder of political intrigue and corruption.

It’s been a year and I’ve forgotten these characters. As the story unfolds I’m reminded why I felt so moved by them. The true joy of PERFECT HATRED is the rich interaction which occurs when interesting people interact with warmth, innuendo, barbs, humour and love.

A very satisfying book.

Crime Fiction group announces 2013 Book Special for readers!

In celebration that many readers' received new eReaders and book vouchers for the holiday season, Crime Fiction group on LinkedIn has collected some (e)book specials and, hopefully, some new-to-you authors. We hope you'll find a few new favourites in the 2013 New eBook Reader Promotion from Crime Fiction group.

Click on the hyperlink above these words, or click the "Crime Fiction" button at the top of the page.

KILLING SILENCE by Peg Herring

Knowing that any novel’s premise is contrived doesn’t stop my feeling that many stories lately involve rickety staircases of logic just to read them.

Peg Herring’s KILLING SILENCE was a delightful departure; in the first few pages, I felt that pleasurable anticipation when you’ve just become enmeshed in a story you know you’re going to love. Yet from the subtitle, you might not think so; these books are called The Loser Mysteries. My aged mother-in-law looked at the cover and said she wouldn’t like to read that book; I’m going to have to tell her that she’ll enjoy it very much.